How to make a difference in times of stiff competition
If there is one thing you can do that would make a difference to your business in these challenging times what would it be?
You may be thinking, cut back, tighten our belts, see where we can make a saving or how we can be more efficient and of course you may be right to consider any, or all, of these items however there is one real fundamental area that will not just make a difference today but for your business future and that’s looking after the CUSTOMER who should be at the heart of your business and should be made to feel special. After all if it wasn’t for your customer or clients you wouldn’t have a business! I know we all say ‘but I know this’ there is a difference between knowing about customer service(understanding the principles), doing customer service (going through the motions) and living customer service (from the heart and mind, as a way of life) .
6 ways to get to living customer service?
What about your team, are they living customer service and interfacing with your customers, or are they just going through the motions? If you have a reception area they are the first people to come face to face or ear to ear if on the telephone with you customers. Have you considered what it would be like to walk into your reception what would you see? What would you hear? How would you be made to feel? Why not try by sending in a ‘mystery shopper’ and get some great feedback to share with your team to help every one become more customer focused. If it improves just one thing, it could save you a customer or get you a new customer – how much could that be worth?
I visited one organisation last month to meet up to discuss training needs with the MD on entering the reception area I was immediately acknowledged even though the receptionist was busy with another customer. The receptionist went out of her way to make me comfortable and kept me well informed. She was well presented and had just the right attitude, the reception are was clean & tidy, with up to date promotional materials and I was offered refreshments. She clearly was living customer service and enjoyed what she did, it was effortless and made me think what a great place this must be to work and to do business with. First impressions are so important. I could tell you of many places I have visited that have left the opposite impression, but why waste our time on those.
Ask your customers?
Why not get feed back from them as to things you could improve on to make them feel special. A simple questionnaire or short telephone survey, as long as you don’t hound your customers you will be surprised what gems of ideas they come up with, after all if they like you they will want you to prosper and do well it is in both your interests.
Ask your employees?
Get them involved – often people at the sharp end can see ways of improving things that we may not see. Get them involved and they will take ownership, then they are really living customer service. Ask them to imagine being in the customer’s shoes and what that might feel like, see what insight they have.
Set an example.
Walk the talk, no really you have to be living customer service too and remember your employees are your customers too. Develop good guide lines and where possible empower your employees to act in the correct way, when there is a problem they should know what the boundaries are and when to involve others. Build trust in your team it will shine through in living customer service.
Praise and recognition.
Catch people doing it right and reward and recognise them this will encourage them to do more of the behaviours you want and encourage others to do the same. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune often a thank you is all it takes. So be observant and try to find something good for everyone so employees that are not so skilled will also feel encouraged. This can change the culture to one of a positive atmosphere where employees help one another.
Train and develop their skills
Yes training can help move minds from customer service doing to customer service living. If you think you need help to change the hearts and minds of your team we can develop a training intervention to suit your needs from 90 minute sessions to one day events and we will guarantee it pays for its self in living customer service results.
If you want help or advice on the above or would like to discuss any of your future training needs call Judi Walsingham on 01923 835981 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Provided by Partners in Business Training & Staff development specialists